BERLIN — German authorities braced for possible far-right violence in the eastern state of Saxony at the weekend, with Chancellor Angela Merkel on Friday promising federal support for local police seeking to prevent anti-refugee riots of the kind seen in the town of Heidenau last week.
Local authorities had imposed a blanket ban on public assemblies to prevent a repeat of the violence that occurred outside a refugee shelter last weekend, in which dozens of police officers were injured. The ban was partially lifted by a court to allow a welcome party for refugees to take place.
Johannes Dimroth, a spokesman for Germany's Interior Ministry, said federal police would be sent to Heidenau to support local forces. He was unable immediately to say how many officers would be deployed.
"We've already made one step in the right direction," with the decision to provide help, Merkel said, adding that federal authorities would "do everything within their power in order to support the Saxony police."
More generally, Merkel said European Union Interior Ministers meeting this weekend would be looking into "rapid changes to the asylum system."